Category Archives: Skin News

Dealing with Skin Cancer

May 1st marks the beginning of Skin Cancer Awareness Month, an annual campaign aimed at bringing skin cancer prevention and detection to center stage.  Dr. Beata Rydzik of Portland’s Center for Dermatology and Laser Surgery was on hand to discuss the importance of these efforts, emphasizing the need for regular skin cancer screenings.

“Each year, over 3.5 million skin cancer cases are diagnosed in over 2 million people – that represents more cases than
breast, prostate, colon, and lung cancer combined,” reports Dr. Rydzik.  “With such a high prevalence, it is crucial for patients to understand the steps they can take to prevent, detect, and treat this all-too-common disease.”

A topic often misunderstood, Dr. Rydzik offered some background on the different types of skin cancers men and women are susceptible to.  “Skin cancers can be generally broken down into two categories: melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers,” explains Dr. Rydzik.  “Melanoma accounts for less than 5% of skin cancer cases, but it represents the deadliest form of the disease.  While non-melanoma skin cancers such as basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma tend to be less fatal, they still present a serious medical concern.”

Offering tips as to how patients can reduce their risk for developing skin cancer, Dr. Rydzik stated this: “While there are a number of risk factors involved in skin cancer, exposure to ultraviolet radiation is the biggest culprit.  Patients can minimize their exposure by avoiding the sun especially between the hours of 10AM to 4PM. If this cannot be helped be sure you wear sunscreen with an appropriate SPF. I recommend a broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 40 and above. Reapplication after perspiration or swimming and every 2 hrs is also very important as no sunscreen that we put on in the morning lasts all day long.  Most definitely steer away from tanning beds which have the highest concentration of UVB radiation, more so than natural sunlight. You can also cover up with loose-fitting clothing and wear hats with a large brim. Patients need to understand that there is no benefit to “pre-tanning” before going on a tropical vacation. If you follow the steps of reapplication you will not sunburn. “Pre-tanning” amplifies the “UV-load” on your skin which then increases your risk of skin cancer and leads to premature aging.”


Emphasizing the importance of skin cancer detection, Dr. Rydzik had this to say: “In the end, one of the most important weapons against skin cancer is regular screenings from a dermatologist.  This is especially important for those who have a family history of skin cancer, those with a fair complexion, multiple moles and those who have noticed suspicious changes in their skin.”

Commenting on the importance of this month-long effort, Dr. Rydzik finished with this: “While skin cancer is certainly a serious condition, it is almost always treatable when caught early.  We encourage patients to take a proactive role in their skin health not only during the month of May but all year long and contact us directly to schedule regular skin exams.”



The Redness that is Rosacea

Some people think they often are lightly sunburned. Others think they blush easily. Others wonder if they had one too many drinks that night.

Most don’t wonder if they have rosacea, but they should. It is estimated that 14 million Americans have rosacea, but most don’teczema know.

Rosacea is a common skin disorder that usually affects the skin on the face. It shows itself in redness on the nose, chin, cheeks, and forehead. It starts as simple redness, as if blushing, but if left alone rosacea can develop into a more ruddy redness.

While usually on the face, rosacea can also appear on the chest, back, or neck. It can even affect the eyes, making them appear bloodshot and watery. Rosacea can lead to solid red bumps and pus-filled pimples.

What causes rosacea?

Rosacea remains somewhat of a mystery, its exact cause unknown. One line of thinking holds that rosacea is a disorder of the blood vessels. Other theories involve microscopic skin mites, fungus, psychological factors, and a malfunction of the connective tissue under the skin.


Although symptoms of rosacea vary greatly between people, the condition will always include at least one of these primary signs:

  • Flushing — This is often the earliest sign of the disorder, where the person frequently blushes or flushes.
  • Persistent redness — This may resemble a sunburn or blush that doesn’t pass.
  • Visible blood vessels — Small blood vessels may become visible on the skin.
  • Bumps and pimples — This can resemble acne, as small red bumps or pus-filled pimples form. There are never blackheads, though.
  • Eye irritation — Called ocular rosacea, this involves bloodshot, watery eyes. Styes can also result.
  • Dry appearance — The central facial skin may appear dry, but is actually just very rough.
  • Plaques — These are raised red patches, similar to what is found in psoriasis, but the surrounding skin is unaffected.
  • Burning or stinging — The face may constantly feel tight or burning/stinging sensations can develop.
  • Swelling — Facial swelling.
  • Skin thickening — This usually occurs on the nose and is called rhinophyma, where the skin enlarges due to the production of excess tissue.

Diagnoses and treatment of rosacea

While there is no specific test for rosacea, the team at the Center for Dermatology and Laser Surgery is well versed in the disorder. Treatments are individual, but include medications, both oral and topical, to bring the condition under control. Procedures can be performed to remove visible blood vessels and lessen reddening.

There are also a series of triggers that should be avoided. When in our offices discussing your condition, we will walk you through things that can trigger your rosacea.

Do you think you may have rosacea? Call us at the Center for Dermatology and Laser Surgery, 503-297-3440, and let’s have a look.

How to Treat Brown Spots

For those dealing with unwanted skin discoloration, confidence and self-esteem can become a daily struggle.  Often manifesting in the form of brown spots and patches, skin discoloration can affect patients both physically and emotionally.  Thankfully, however, patients today are choosing to do something about it.  Dr. Beata Rydzik of Portland’s Center for Dermatology and Laser Surgery recently sat down to discuss how more and more patients are turning to cosmetic dermatology as a way to help treat troublesome brown spots.

“As one of today’s most common skin complaints, brown spots can serve as a blemish to an otherwise perfect complexion,” Dr. Rydzik explains.  “While they typically don’t pose a medical threat, brown spots can take a toll on patients in other ways, often becoming a source of embarrassment.”

Detailing causes of the condition, Dr. Rydzik offered this: “A common result of the aging process, brown spots are most often caused by years of overexposure to the sun.  Manifesting as flat, painless areas, brown spots can also occur as a result of injury or trauma, in a condition known as post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.”

Dr. Rydzik, who specializes in many of today’s top general and cosmetic dermatologic procedures, went on to describe a few of the condition’s most effective treatment modalities.  “While brown spots can certainly be discouraging, modern cosmetic dermatology now offers a host of minimally-invasive solutions for reducing the appearance of skin discoloration and promoting a more uniform complexion,” Dr. Rydzik explains.  “Chemical peels, microdermabrasion, and laser skin resurfacing can all be effectively used to reduce the appearance of spots.  Liquid nitrogen and skin bleaching may also be used, depending on the patient’s unique medical needs.”

Asked to comment on the growing popularity of cosmetic dermatology, Dr. Rydzik concluded with this:  “Where in the past, many patients had no choice but to accept brown spots, that is simply no longer the case today.  With several highly-effective treatments available, we encourage anyone dealing with skin discoloration to contact us and learn more about their treatment options.”

If you’re interested in treating your brown spots, call us at 503-297-3440 and let’s talk about your options.


Give Your Chin Fat the Deep Freeze with CoolMini™ from CoolSculpting®

As we get older almost everyone develops the combination of looser skin and excess fat under their chin. And no matter how many chin lifts you do you can’t get your chin back to the profile you had when you were younger.

Unless you give it the deep-freeze at the Center for Dermatology and Laser Surgery with our CoolMini™ procedure. CoolMini™ is a new procedure from the developers of CoolSculpting® and it is intended for much smaller areas, such as under the chin.

What is CoolSculpting®?

If you follow the aesthetic industry at all, then you’ve probably heard about CoolSculpting®. CoolSculpting is a procedure that eliminates stubborn fat effectively and safely without surgery. It is the only procedure cleared by the FDA that utilizes controlled cooling to eliminate fat that is resistant to diet and exercise.

The theory behind CoolSculpting originates from two Harvard scientists who observed that some children got dimples from eating popsicles. They assumed that the fat cells in the cheeks were dying from the cold temperatures, creating the leaner, dimpled cheeks. The same concept applies to CoolSculpting, which uses controlled cooling (Cryolipolysis) to target and kill fat cells. Fat cells freeze at higher temperatures than surrounding non-fat tissue. By precisely targeting the fat cells with the correct temperature, they are frozen and die. Over the subsequent few weeks, the dead fat cells are eliminated naturally by the body.

CoolMini™: No Needles. No Surgery. No Downtime

During the CoolMini™ procedure, a proprietary coupling gel is applied to the area under your chin. Once the gel is applied, a vacuum is initiated through the applicator to suction the fat deposit in the area. The key for the CoolMini™ procedure is the applicator, which is optimized to capture and effectively treat smaller fat pockets. This is exactly what patients are dealing with under their chin. For 30 to 60 minutes, the applicator is held there to do the cooling. The result is a cold-induced inflammatory response that ultimately leads to the death of fat cells under the chin. After a few days or weeks, these dead fat cells are absorbed by the body as it heals, resulting in at least a 20% fat reduction in the treated area. These fat cells are permanently removed, similar to what happens with liposuction, but without the surgery.

Why is CoolMini™ becoming an instant hit?

The American Society for Dermatologic Surgery in a 2015 survey found that over two thirds of people said they were bothered by a double chin. So, you’re not alone in wanting a slimmer profile under your chin.

Interested in Learning More About CoolMini™? Contact the Center for Dermatology and Laser Surgery

If you are interested in losing your chin fat call the cosmetic team providers at the Center for Dermatology and Laser Surgery at 503-297-3440 to discuss all of your options including Kybella® and Ultherapy. We look forward to hearing from you soon.


Make that Double Chin a Single with Kybella®

A “Double Chin” otherwise known as “submental fullness,” in the cosmetic world, is a common and extremely disturbing problem for many people.  What is even more disturbing is that there have been relatively few previous treatment options other than a surgical facelift that can only temporarily relieve this problem of fat below the chin.

This has changed with the introduction of a variety of non-surgical options including Kybella® which are available at the Center for Dermatology and Laser Surgery to reduce the appearance of mild to severe fat below the chin.

Double chins are common

If you have a double chin, you are in good company. A 2015 survey conducted by the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery

found that 67% of people said they are bothered by a double chin. The survey also discovered that the same people were just as

bothered by their double chin as their wrinkles or other signs of aging.

As we age, our skin sags. This is due to a variety of factors including the influence of gravity, a decreasing production of collagen resulting in the skin having less underlying support, genetics (some people simply have looser skin below the jawline), and weight gain. Also, without the support of the decreasing muscle or bone below it, the skin under the chin is particularly affected.

Kybella® to the rescue

Previously, the only way a person could really change the appearance of their double chin was through facelift surgery, which can be expensive and traumatic, and have only a temporary result.  Formerly known as mesotherapy, which was not FDA approved and produced inconsistent results, Kybella® was then developed.  Currently, Kybella® is the only FDA-approved injectable treatment for adults to improve the appearance and profile of a double chin.

Kybella® works because it contains deoxycholic acid. Deoxycholic acid is a naturally occurring molecule in the body, which aids in the breakdown and absorption of dietary fat. When injected into the fat beneath the chin, Kybella® destroys the fat cells. Once those fat cells are gone, there is no mechanism to store and accumulate fat in the area thus leading to a permanent solution.


Multiple Kybella® treatments yield the best results

At the Center for Dermatology and Laser Surgery, we customize your Kybella® treatment. The number of treatments will depend on the amount of fat stored under your chin, along with your desired final chin profile. Most patients experience visible results in two to four treatments, however up to six treatments may be administered spaced at least one month apart.

Furthermore, Kybella® does its magic without any major side effects or surgical recovery time. Patients may have temporary swelling and tenderness at the injection sites however.

Because Kybella® destroys the fat cells, results are considered permanent. However, if you gain weight, submental fat can return.

If you are interested in losing your double chin call the cosmetic team providers at the Center for Dermatology and Laser Surgery at 503-297-3440 to discuss all of your options including Kybella®, Coolsculpting, and Ultherapy.


Photodynamic Therapy For Actinic Keratosis

Actinic keratosis is a pre-cancerous skin condition which form as a result of prolonged exposure to ultraviolet rays, usually from the sun or tanning beds. Sun-damaged skin affected by actinic keratosis appears as a dark, rough, scaly patch. If left untreated, it may turn into squamous cell carcinoma, a type of skin cancer.

PDT is a treatment that uses light to destroy the abnormal skin cells that cause actinic keratosis. The procedure is performed in three steps, starting with the application of a topical photo sensitizer, which is left on the skin for a period of several minutes, or up to several days. This is known as the incubation period. After the incubation period, the photo sensitizer is activated by the wavelengths of a light source. During this time, patients may feel a tingling or warm sensation. The area is then washed, and patients are free to go home. Most patients return to work a day or two following treatment. Depending on the severity of the condition, multiple sessions may be required to achieve optimal results.

Blue Light Therapy For Acne

BLU-U® Blue Light Photodynamic Therapy is a non-invasive treatment that controls moderate acne without drugs or antibiotics. This procedure uses advanced blue light technology to kill the bacteria that causes acne, while still being gentle on the skin.

During treatment, patients sit with their faces close to the blue light for a short period of time–usually a few minutes, once or twice per week. A typical session lasts about 16 minutes, however the length of time spent in front of the light and the number of therapy sessions depend on the severity of the acne.

Call us at 503-297-3440 and make an appointment for photodynamic therapy.


Treating Spider Veins With Sclerotherapy

For those people dealing with the unwanted appearance of spider veins on their legs, confidence and self-esteem can be a daily struggle. Spider veins are enlarged blood vessels which appear red or blue through skin. Dr. Bernard Gasch of the Center for Dermatology and Laser Surgery, explains how the cosmetic dermatology procedure known as sclerotherapy can effectively treat these unattractive veins on legs.

“Spider veins are an extremely common problem, and although they can develop anywhere on the body, they most commonly appear on the legs,” says Dr. Gasch, “There are a number of factors that contribute to the development of spider veins, including genetics, pregnancy, changes in hormones, and weight gain.”

“While spider veins are not normally known to cause significant physical health issues, some patients may experience leg pains as a result, especially whenever they have to stand for a prolonged period of time.”  Dr. Gasch continues, “spider veins are mainly a source of embarrassment.”

Dr. Gasch, who specializes in general and cosmetic dermatologic procedures, states that sclerotherapy is still the most effective treatment for spider veins. “Sclerotherapy has been used to treat the appearance of spider veins for many years. The actual procedure involves injecting a certain solution into the vein which causes the walls of the vein to become damaged, resulting in the closure of that vein over a short period of time.”  Dr. Gasch explains that although the actual procedure of sclerotherapy has remained similar for decades, the solutions used in sclerotherapy have greatly evolved over time, resulting in much less discomfort than previously.  “Gone are the days of using saline solution for sclerotherapy,” says Dr. Gasch.  “Three years ago, the FDA approved Polidocanol, also known as Asclera, which has resulted in virtually painless slerotherapy with minimal side effects.

In further explaining sclerotherapy, Dr. Gasch states that the procedure is most effective for small more superficial red or blue veins, not for larger bulging varicose veins.  Dr. Gasch reiterates that the treatment does not require any anesthesia and that patients can return to their normal activities within a few days. Dr. Gasch does recommend that his patients wear compression stockings for the first few days following the procedure, in order to improve the results.  In addition, many patients will need 2 to 4 treatments to achieve their desired outcome.

Dr. Gasch concludes that “no one should feel like they have to live with or feel embarrassed about having spider veins.  Spider veins are easily treatable with sclerotherapy and we have seen great success with it. My patients report a huge improvement in both their appearance and confidence level following their treatments. I encourage anyone dealing with spider veins to consult a board-certified dermatologist in their area who has experience in treating leg veins to learn more about sclerotherapy.”


Call us at 503-297-3440 and make an appointment for sclerotherapy.


Understanding Eczema

Dr. Bernard Gasch, an expert dermatologist at the Center for Dermatology and Laser Surgery in Portland, Oregon, reports that Eczema Awareness Month is fast-approaching. With Eczema Awareness Month set to begin on October 1, Dr. Gasch takes a minute to discuss this condition, which can often be uncomfortable as well as debilitating.Eczema therapy

Eczema is a chronic skin condition, which flares periodically. When the condition flares, intensely itchy, rough, bright-red, and occasionally blistering rashes may appear on the skin,” Dr. Gasch says. Approximately 15 million Americans suffer from eczema, yet many never seek professional help for their condition. According to Dr. Gasch, it is important that patients seek advice from a dermatologist, who can give them various up-to-date and effective treatment options in hopes of not only resolving their eczema, but also preventing it from becoming widespread as well as infected.

Dr. Gasch explains that although eczema may appear on any part of the body, it is  usually found on the arms and legs. Despite the exact cause of eczema being unknown, many have linked it to genetics, as well as dry skin.  In many cases, eczema, or atopic dermatitis, first appears in early childhood in children who suffer from environmental allergies. The initial eczema may improve with age, but often later manifests as skin allergic contact rashes, such as to fragrances and preservatives found in products applied to the skin.

“Eczema flares may be triggered by any number of factors including contact with soaps, shampoos, lotions, or even laundry detergents containing fragrances, preservatives, or certain dyes.  It may also be worsened with contact with coarse materials found in clothing, including wool, especially in the wintertime.  Stress, environmental allergies, and fighting off a cold or infection may also lead to an eczema flare,” says Dr. Gasch.

“I always tell my patients to avoid scratching their skin even when it is itchy.”  We have various strategies including topical and oral agents which can help our patients with itching, all in an attempt to avoid scratching.  Scratching will cause further irritation and cause the flare-up to become worse.

Patients must also be aware that, while there is no cure for eczema, there are plenty of effective treatment options. Although each patient’s needs differ, common treatments are prescription anti-inflammatory creams and oral medications, if needed.  Also, if the skin becomes infected from scratching, oral antibiotics may be helpful.  Nevertheless, appropriate moisturizers are necessary to hydrate the skin and form a protective barrier against contact allergens which the patient might be sensitive or even allergic to.

Dr. Gasch also emphasizes the importance of “patch test” skin allergy testing, especially in teens and adults who may be suffering from eczema-related rashes such as Contact Dermatitis.  This form of skin testing is totally different from skin “prick tests” that are administered by allergists for discovering triggers for environmental allergies and asthma, not skin allergies.  Skin patch testing, on the other hand, is performed by certain dermatology practices, including Dr. Gasch and Dr. Rydzik”s Center for Dermatology and Laser Surgery.  This testing reveals what the patient’s skin is allergic to.  In other words, this testing identifies which ingredient the patient may be coming in contact with which may be causing or contributing to their eczema or eczema-related skin rash.

With Eczema Awareness Month set to begin in October, Dr. Gasch also says his practice will continue to emphasize the importance of patient education when it comes to controlling eczema and contact dermatitis.

Many patients who suffer from eczema and contact dermatitis are not only bothered by the fact that their skin is itching and has rashes, which maybe keeping them awake at night, but are also self-conscious about the appearance of their skin.  Patients need to be aware that there are millions of people out there with same concerns, and that many of their symptoms can be relieved with the professional help of a qualified Dermatologist.  I will continue to promote eczema education for my patients, and I will continue to encourage anyone with eczema to consult a compassionate, board-certified dermatologist who will help them manage their skin symptoms effectively.”

Interested in Learning More About Eczema and its Treatment? Contact Center for Dermatology and Laser Surgery

For more information on eczema of your skin or other skin related disorders, contact the Center for Dermatology and Laser Surgery. You may speak to us by dialing 503.297.3440 or visit our offices in Hillsboro or Portland, Oregon. We look forward to hearing from you soon.


Psoriasis – Your Treatment Options

Dr. Bernard Gasch, an esteemed dermatologist at the Center for Dermatology and Laser Surgery in Portland, Oregon, reminds the public that Psoriasis Awareness Month is around the corner. The National Psoriasis Foundation sponsors Psoriasis Awareness Month every August. This month-long initiative aims to not only raise awareness of psoriasis, but also educate the public, as well ascenterdermlaser psoriasis patient dispel the misinformation, myths, and stigmas surrounding the disease.

To promote this awareness effort, Dr. Gasch is speaking out on this widespread and often misunderstood condition.

Psoriasis is the term used to describe a group of chronic skin disorders that most frequently occur on the scalp, elbows, knees, hands, feet and genitals. While not contagious, a flare-up can cause extreme discomfort,” explains Dr. Gasch. “It affects individuals of all ages and can develop in different forms.”

Psoriasis is a widespread autoimmune disease, affecting an estimated 7.5 million Americans. While the exact cause of the condition is unknown, it is believed to be caused by a combination of genetics and environmental triggers, such as stress, injury and certain medications. Most forms of psoriasis manifest as raised, red, scaly patches on the skin that can be itchy or painful.

In addition to the discomfort caused by flare-ups, researchers have linked psoriasis to a number of serious conditions, including heart disease and diabetes. Psoriasis can also take an emotional toll on patients, causing increased instances of anxiety and depression. In addition, as much as 30 percent of the psoriasis population develops psoriatic arthritis, which causes inflammation and pain in the joints, according to the National Psoriasis Foundation.

Dr. Gasch emphasizes the importance of treating and maintaining this disease.

“While there is no cure for psoriasis, proper treatment can make a great difference in the life of a patient. In some cases, symptoms can be successfully treated for months, years or even permanently,” says Dr. Gasch. “To achieve the best possible outcome, patients need to be their own best advocate and seek proper treatment with the help of a qualified and experienced dermatologist.”

Need More Details on Psoriasis Treatments? Contact the Center for Dermatology and Laser Surgery

For more information about medical dermatology and laser treatments that can help you deal with psoriasis or other skin problems, contact the Center for Dermatology and Laser Surgery. We are located in Portland, Oregon. Please call us at 503.297.3440 for details. We look forward to hearing from you soon.

Today’s Top Solutions for Managing Melasma

For countless individuals, melasma is a daily reality.  Characterized by areas of skin discoloration – particularly on the face – melasma can take its toll not only on a patient’s appearance, but also their self-esteem.    Emphasizing the condition’s far-reaching effects, Portland Dermatologist, Dr. Beata Rydzik, explains how patients can fight back in the battle against skin discoloration.

“Melasma is a common skin condition, which usually presents as brown patches on the face, at times extending to the neck,” states Dr. Rydzik.  “While often not a medical concern, it can play a distressing role on individual’s confidence and sense of self worth.  The cause of melasma is not yet fully understood. It likely involves a complex interplay between melanocytes and UV light. For reasons not yet clear melanocytes which are the color producing cells in our skin end up producing too much pigment,” comments Dr. Rydzik.

When asked to explain who may be at risk for developing the condition, Dr. Rydzik offered this:  “While melasma can affect nearly anyone, we see it more in female patients, especially those on oral contraceptive pills or those who are pregnant.”  Dr. Rydzik’s assertion confirms data published by the AAD, which explains that, “Just 10% of people who get melasma are men.”

“What is important for patients to understand is that melasma can be managed.  The first step is identifying and minimizing triggers such as overexposure to the sun or oral contraceptive pills. The appearance of existing brown spots can be diminished. This can often be accomplished by some combination of topical medications and cosmetic procedures followed by intense sun protection” states Dr. Rydzik.  “Popular treatments include creams such as Hydroquinone and Tretinoin, usually available at your dermatologist’s office or at the pharmacy. Depending on the type of melasma, chemical peels and some laser procedures can be safe and effective.”

Speaking on how patients can take a “first step” in managing their melasma, Dr. Rydzik concluded with this:  “While dealing with melasma can sometimes feel like an uphill battle, understand that you do not have to take the journey alone.  I encourage anyone dealing with melasma to first consult with a board certified dermatologist in their area and learn more about getting a handle on their symptoms.”

Interested in Learning More About Melasma? Contact the Center for Dermatology and Laser Surgery.

For more information about melasma and its treatments, contact the Center for Dermatology and Laser Surgery. We are located in Portland and can be reached directly at 503.297.3440. We look forward to hearing from you soon.

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